The parents of a New York teen who took her own life sued the Department of Education nearly three months after her suicide, alleging that high school officials ignored the ninth-grader’s bullying complaints.
According to the New York Daily News, Mya Vizcarrondo-Rios jumped off her 34-story Bronx apartment on February 28. A recently-filed lawsuit alleged that she was regularly bullied at Harry S. Truman High School for five months, and sexually assaulted the day before her suicide.
The girl’s father, Heriberto Rios, told the news outlet that he was home when his daughter took her own life. He explained that he believed she was at school, which was still in session at the time.
On February 27, two boys allegedly took Vizcarrondo-Rios to the back of an unsupervised auditorium and forced her to perform oral sex on them. Her classmates continued to bully her even after the sexual assault, the lawsuit alleged.
Rios told the Daily News that Vizcarrondo-Rios had endured five months of hair pulling, body shaming, and physical assaults before the auditorium incident. Not only were teachers and school administrators aware of the bullying, but they didn’t bother to look for her when she vanished from school on February 28, according to the lawsuit.
Mya Vizcarrondo-Rios' parents are suing the Department of Education for ignoring the teen's repeated complaints about being bullied. https://t.co/PIGnpTVq7q
— BET News (@BETNews) May 29, 2019
Vizcarrondo-Rios was said to have reported the ongoing bullying to a guidance counselor, who allegedly didn’t investigate the issue and sent her back to class. The father said she never told them about the bullying she was dealing with at school.
The same guidance counselor reportedly informed Vizcarrondo-Rios’ parents about her excessive absences during a meeting but never mentioned the bullying.
A day before her death, one of Vizcarrondo-Rios’ friends reportedly told the counselor about the issues she was dealing with. The counselor visited Vizcarrondo-Rios in the gym and wrote a note to her parents, instructing them to be observant of any signs of emotional distress, the outlet reported, citing the lawsuit.
The note reportedly never made it to the teen’s parents. In light of her suicide, one of the alleged bullies was transferred, while the guidance counselor was fired, according to the lawsuit.
A Department of Education spokesperson called Vizcarrondo-Rios’ death a “tragic loss” and said that schools are required to investigate all claims of bullying.
In addition to the Department of Education, the girl’s parents are suing the city and school administrators.
“She was an honor roll student,” Rios said of his late daughter. “She had so many plans. She wanted to go to college.”
[Featured image: Mya Vizcarrondo-Rios/GoFundMe]